How To Remove Tea Stains From Cups: 6 Home Remedies

This article guides you on how to remove tea stains from cups and offers ways to carry out this task with utmost efficiency and effectiveness.

how to remove tea stains from cups
Teas can stain the bottom of your cup

If you like to drink tea, you undoubtedly have a preferred cup or mug to drink it from. However, when used for an extended period of time, an ugly and unappealing ring can form on the bottom of your favorite cup.

Leaving a dark stain on your dishware may be well below the standards you set for yourself. You will be especially reticent to let it stand if the cup is part of an expensive set or was given to you as a present or family heirloom.

Some tea stains are easy to remove. For others, much more effort is required. For example, white porcelain is a popular choice for teacups. But even if you have a cup with a stainless-steel interior, it can still stain.

Why Does Tea Stains Cups

Tea is a relatively light drink. It contains mostly water. It also contains tannic acid, which gives the tea its color.

Tannins are used as an agent for tanning and in ink dyes. It is this dye that rubs against the cup, causing it to stain.

Of course, the stronger the tea, the heavier the stain. So, black teas like English Breakfast are much worse than white teas like White Peony.

How To Remove Tea Stains From Cups?

There are many methods for cleaning tea stains from cups. However, while it is possible to have your cups cleaned by a professional—yes, this service exists—you may not be willing to pay the money. And besides, most people find the thought of handing their cups over to a professional for cleaning utterly ridiculous.

Here are some home remedies that can get the job done:

1. Apply Soap And Water

Good old-fashioned soap and water can still work wonders in removing stains. Dish soap contains powerful chemicals to lift stains. You should put that power to good use.

To remove the stain, you will need to soak the inside of your cup in dishwater. Then, all you need do is squirt a little soap into the teacup, add enough warm water to cover the stain, swish the mixture around, and let the cup sit for a few minutes. This will allow the dish soap to penetrate and dissolve the stain.

Once the soap has sat for the required time, you should scrub the stain with a sponge. This method is ideal for lighter tea stains or for stains that have only recently formed.

If your fine china has is stained, make sure you use a soft sponge. Abrasive scrubbers can scratch the surface and damage your cup.

2. Use Baking Soda

A spoon of baking soda and a glass of water.
You can use a baking soda paste

A dish soap soak does not always work—especially if the stain has been in the cup for a while. If this is the case, then you should turn to baking soda.

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03/06/2024 08:34 pm GMT

To use this method, sprinkle 1 tsp of baking soda on the stain and add a little water to make a paste. Then scrub the stain with a damp and soft sponge. The baking soda will help lift the tea stain from the surface of your cup.

Once you have finished scrubbing, rinse the mug thoroughly to remove all the baking soda.

3. Use A Vinegar Scrub

vinegar, cleaning, cleaner
You can opt for a vinegar solution

If the above methods have failed, you can turn to vinegar. To do so, you must fill your cup halfway with distilled vinegar. Then fill the rest of your cup with very hot but not boiling water.

Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. This will give the vinegar time to soak into the stain and lift the stain from the dish.

You will then need to scrub away the stains using dish soap and a soft sponge. After you have completed this process, rinse out the cup thoroughly.

4. Purchase The Right Cleaning Tools

If your cups are long and skinny and your hands are large, you will not be able to scrub the stain out manually. Instead, you will need to purchase a bottle brush. Make sure you buy one that reaches the bottom of your cup.

Don’t look down your nose at baby bottle brushes. They often come with a small scrubber designed to get into nooks and crannies.

5. Try Denture Tablets

Denture tablets are designed to keep dentures clean. But, did you know you can use them to do the same thing for cups and mugs?

Follow the instructions on the package, and make sure you use enough water to cover the stain. And, as always, don’t forget to scrub and rinse thoroughly.

6. Wash Cups Early And Often

If you are serious about preserving and protecting your teacups, then you should wash them out immediately after each serving of tea. Rinsing will remove the drops of tea in your cup, and once these drops are gone, there will be nothing left to form a stain.

Before applying any of the methods described above, make sure you know what your cups are made of and the amount of TLC they require. Also, make sure you always follow the artisan’s or manufacturer’s guidelines.

Like this? Learn how to clean a coffee pot.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.